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With: Greta Gerwig, Joel Kinnaman, Zoe Lister Jones, Hamish Linklater, Bill Pullman, Debra Winger, Ebon Moss-Bachrach
Written by: Daryl Wein, Zoe Lister Jones
Directed by: Daryl Wein
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexuality and drug use
Running Time: 87
Date: 04/24/2012
IMDB

Lola Versus (2012)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Funny Girl

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Lola Versus arrives with an impeccable "indie" pedigree. Greta Gerwig (Greenberg, Damsels in Distress) is an adorable darling of low-budget movies, an approachable girl that, refreshingly, doesn't look like she could moonlight as a model. And director Daryl Wein and co-star/co-writer Zoe Lister Jones came from a nifty little New York romance, Breaking Upwards, that hinted at more good things to come.

Yet it plays out with shocking shallowness, as if the script had accidentally slipped from Katherine Heigl's table and been devoured like scraps by lesser-paid talents. Gerwig plays 29 year-old Lola, who is about to marry Luke (Joel Kinnaman). Horribly, she seems happier about getting married than about marrying a particular person. Perhaps understandably, then, Luke bolts.

For the rest of the movie we watch as Lola uses her pluckiness to get through, sleeping with a strange prison architect, taking knuckleheaded advice from her best pal Alice (Lister Jones), and hanging out with her "best friend" (hint, hint) Henry (Hamish Linklater). Debra Winger even shows up for a few scenes as Lola's mom, as does Bill Pullman -- separately -- as her dad.

The thing is, Gerwig is delightful, but she's in a constant wrestling match between her lively instincts and the dead instincts of the material, which insist on defining a woman by her relationships to men. A supposedly ambiguous, triumphant ending doesn't help much, as it doesn't really follow what came before it; it feels like one of those "alternate" endings that never made it past a test audience.

Aside from the gritty look, which appears as if the movie were actually shot on New York City streets, rather than a Hollywood set built to look like New York, Lola Versus is pretty much the textbook, lazy romantic comedy. I wonder if it's this lack of shininess that has made the movie almost totally evaporate from my head, mere weeks after seeing it?

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